Robbing a Stranger

Located in:

Lagos, Portugal - October 2001

Our trip to Portugal was equally balanced by sightseeing and partying. In Lagos we were convinced to stay at a private home and the granny that lived there would not allow the boys and girls in our group to share rooms. (after several nights of wild sex orgies, I suppose this was a welcome relief)

Our first night in town probably counted as the one with the heaviest consumption. It ran late for most but ended abruptly for one individual who had sipped too much Absinthe. (no, not me) Anyway, let's just say we're happy the boys' room had tiled floors which were easy to clean.

In the morning, euroToner was the first out of the house and told us to catch up with him at the beach. I decided to take the vacation exercise I had promised myself and jogged to the beach to find Toner. There he was snoozing on the sand with his face to the sun - and he had yet to notice me. Clearly it was time to play a trick. I crept up beside him and quietly began rifling through the side pocket of his beach shorts. Toner woke with a start and stared up at me in disbelief. I returned his look with a smile and then one of horror - it wasn't Toner.

On a beach in a strange land I had just snuck up on a Toner lookalike - a complete stranger - and went through all the motions of robbing him. I was in a t-shirt with shorts and jogging shoes - probably pretty standard gear for a pick pocket. I wouldn't have blamed the poor guy for smacking me but since he was lying on his back and confused, he wasn't in a position to do so. I started apologising in every language I could think of and fortunately he was too stunned to do anything but lie there. It is hard to convince a stranger you are not a robber when you have just tried robbing him. After all, upon being caught, a real pickpocket might apologise as if it was a mistake too. In fact, I was almost robbed on a train in Italy years before and with my bag in his hand, the thief apologised and said that he only wanted a drink of water - which he coolly sipped from my bottle to prove it. Cheeky bastard.

My short stint as a bad pickpocket might sound tame but the sick feeling in my stomach was real. At the time I just wanted to get out of there but for the next two days it was on my mind and I felt horrible because I had been mistaken for something I am not - and that is a frustrating feeling. Try it sometime if you don't believe me.

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